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Several mothers in her survey were worried because their husbands surfed the Net while supposedly watching their children, who got to view the pornography and sometimes the masturbation.
Children may also suffer as a result of increasing conflict between the parents or breakup of the marriage.
"This is a hidden public health hazard exploding, in part, because very few are recognizing it as such or taking it seriously," Dr. As a result, the diagnosis of cybersex addiction is often missed, Dr. Especially vulnerable to becoming hooked on Internet sex, he wrote, are "those users whose sexuality may have been suppressed and limited all their lives [who] suddenly find an infinite supply of sexual opportunities" on the Internet. Dana Putnam, a psychologist in San Luis Obispo, Calif., said other factors that could increase a person's vulnerability to cybersex compulsion were depression and other forms of emotional distress, relationship problems and a failure to get one's sexual needs met. Schneider among 94 family members affected by cybersex addiction revealed that the problem could arise even among those in loving marriages with ample sexual opportunities.
"Sex on the Net is just so seductive and it's so easy to stumble upon it," she said.
Cooper's survey indicates that most female cybersex addicts are single, married women also become cybersex addicts and their husbands suffer the consequences.
A 44-year-old man married 26 years to a woman who became hooked on cybersex wrote: "At first we had sex more than ever as I desperately tried to prove myself. I get strong pictures of what she did and lusted after, and I get repelled and feel bad." Women who become cybersex addicts may face even greater risks than their male counterparts.
While many comparisons have been made to drug addiction, Dr.
Among them was a 34-year-old woman married 14 years to a minister who she discovered was compulsively seeking sexual satisfaction by visiting pornographic sites on the Internet.